The ability to process food has done alot to decrease starvation. While I garden, use farm markets, etc. I don't think I could get enough calories from these sources. I don't think the non-industrial food sources could feed us all, at least not without a huge number of people becoming farmers - and even then I'm not sure. Of course, if we went back to 20% of the population being farmers, who would service the elite ?
The real control points are Food, energy, medicine and information. A physicist that these are all essentially the same thing - boiling down to information. what do government try to control ?